Can I Be Sure That God Exists?
That heavy question has been asked by people for centuries. And the answer depends on what you mean by "sure."
Are you sure that you exist? Some people wonder if we might all be figments of someone else's imagination. That may seem like a silly idea. But think about it a moment. How would you prove that you exist?
You might take photos of yourself.
You might look in a mirror.
You might look at how what you do changes your environment.
You might point to things you have created.
You might touch your body and see that you are solid flesh and blood.
All of these things show that you exist.
Suppose God did all of those things.
Look around you, past the things people have made to the things that you see in nature. Do you really believe that all of those things happened by random chance? Walt Whitman, a well-known American poet, once wrote, "A mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels." Could an Intelligence be behind what you see in nature? Could an Intelligence be the reason for your existence?
You can see that your environment changes. Weather. Time. Aging. Each causes changes that people can not fully control. We say that laws of nature govern these things. Where did the laws come from? Did they just happen? Why did they happen this way? Or might an Intelligence have created those laws?
Down through the centuries, countless people have claimed to have insights into God. Some of them were scoundrels, out to get money from trusting believers. Some tried to use religion to advance their own agendas or to obtain power and control. If you have met or read about any of these people, no wonder you are questioning religion. But then, think about your own gender. Whether you are male or female, some people of your sex have done things that might make you wonder if your sex is good. But you know that everyone of your sex is not evil. You do not discount your gender just because some people of your gender have done evil things.
In the same way, it is unwise to dismiss a belief in God because some people have used believers for evil ends.
We said that, if you wanted to prove your existence, you would look into a mirror, take a photo of yourself, or touch your body. What if God gave the same proofs to us? What if He left us a photo, or came in a body, or helped us see Him in some way?
"God does not do that," you say. "I don't see God anywhere." Might it be that you do not recognize Him?
Have you ever planned to meet someone you had never seen before? You had an idea of what the person looked like, but when you met that person, he or she looked completely different than your preconceived notion?
Two thousand years ago, an Israelite man claimed to be God. He was a real man. He had flesh and blood. No one took his photo but they could have, had there been cameras then. He is mentioned in secular history because of his preaching about God and because of his violent death at the hands of his enemies. His followers were in danger of being hunted down and killed, too, but instead of hiding, they boldly proclaimed this man's teachings. They received no money, power, or control from what they preached. Instead, they were hunted down and killed, just like the man foretold when he was alive. And each one of those twelve men went to his death insisting on the truth of the man's message. He was God, they said. He proved it by miracles when He was alive and by coming to life again after He had died.
They had seen Him alive after He had been buried. They had eaten with Him, touched Him, listened to Him. They would never deny Him. They knew He was God and they were willing to die for that belief because He had promised them that, if they remained true to their faith in God, that their death would not be forever. They, like He, would live again in another kingdom with Him forever.
Maybe one person or two people could be psychotic enough to believe this nonsense and die for it. But twelve? Could twelve people have concocted a story and stuck to it, even to death, when they got no material rewards from it? Have you ever heard of anything like this happening any other time?
Might those twelve men have been right?
Might God really have come down in human form, so that we could see Him, touch Him, know Him, hear Him, and believe?
And if He did do this, why did He die? Any God would live forever. So why the dying? That seems to make no sense. But that is another heavy question.